{Salzburg, Austria // Mirabell Gardens}

I made it back to Amsterdam! While I fight my jet lag, I thought I’d share some eye candy with you. I’m still catching up on travel posts from this summer – crazy, right?! 

You may remember back in July my brother and sister-in-law came to visit Amsterdam. We took a trip to Munich together and did a few day trips from there. Salzburg was one of them! It was our first time in Austria and it made me so excited to go back in December. What a stunning place!

We didn’t go to Salzburg with much of a plan other than to just stroll around and check out the city. We just happened upon the Mirabell Gardens and I am so glad we did because they ended up being my absolute favorite part of the city! Everything was so perfectly manicured and breathtakingly beautiful – I could’ve spent our entire day there!
{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{New Friends}

First, I wanted to thank you all for your incredibly thoughtful comments on Thursday. It’s refreshing and interesting to hear all your thoughts and opinions. They all went to heart.

I’m heading back to Amsterdam tomorrow morning. It’s been an insanely busy and incredible nine days at home. It flew by, as always, and I have missed my boys like crazy!! I truly can’t wait to get home to them. But as I was packing tonight I was also extremely upset thinking about how I don’t even know when I will see my Mom next. There are so many amazing parts of living abroad, but then there are parts that just suck really, really bad. Leaving home is definitely one of those parts.

While I’m on a jet plane making my way back to Amsterdam, I’d love for you to meet a couple of awesome ladies who happen to be lovely sponsors of my blog! If you like me, you’ll really like them. Read on to see why.. And if you like them too, show them some love and give them a follow 🙂

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Jay blogs over at FromThere To Here.  A couple of years ago, her and her husband jumped at the chance to leave Canada for a life abroad.  They spent an exciting 2 years in Gabon, West Africa where they experienced life in a developing country. As their time there came to a close this past June, they knew they weren’t quite ready to head home just yet, so this summer they made the move to the polar opposite of Gabon… Norway! Follow along as she chronicles her experiences as an expat!
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Last Friday was Michelle’s last day at work. Her and her man are following their dreams and traveling the world. Starting November 18th they are heading to Spain, then Italy and then Thailand. After that… who knows! They have yet to purchase a return ticket. Her boyfriend is half Dutch, so my hope is they make it to Amsterdam so I can show them around 🙂 Check her out at Mish Lovin’ Life!

{Cooper Mountain Nature Park}

I’m a walker. My mom loves to walk. Corey loves to walk. My in-laws love to walk. We’re just a walkin’ family. So, needless to say, there was a lot of walking done while I was home for a month. One of my favorite places to go for a stroll was through Cooper Mountain Nature Park. It’s this gorgeous nature park 1 mile from my in-laws and 3 miles from my Mom (they live 2 miles apart – how awesome is that?!). It’s a peaceful place with gorgeous views and a few great trails. If you happen to live in the area and haven’t checked it out – you must go! 
P.S. Wouldn’t it be a gorgeous location for a photography session?!
P.P.S. I’m guest posting over on Betsy Transatlantically today – check it out!
And one from Instagram 🙂
 {Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Wine Tasting + Picnic at David Hill}

Things got so busy right before our trip to Portland I didn’t even get to blog about our two-year wedding anniversary. It fell on a work night, the day before I was leaving for home, so to be honest it wasn’t the most incredible anniversary ever. But we did make time to go out for an amazing meal (in a greenhouse!) and for some quality time together before I left Corey for two weeks (torture!).

When we were home, partly as a little celebration and partly just because we hadn’t been back since our wedding day, we went out to the winery where we tied the knot. Corey’s parents and my mom joined as we did a little wine tasting, then enjoyed a picnic among the vines enjoying a fantastic pinot noir. Being back was so special – the place hadn’t changed a bit.  

**Update! Apparently you guys like my dress 😉 Thanks! It’s from Zara. Unfortunately I got it on super sale while I was in Bruges with my sis, and I don’t see it online.

  {Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{A Long Weekend in Munich}

Four days after my sister left Amsterdam, my brother-in-law and his wife arrived! We spent their first weekend in town exploring Amsterdam and then this past weekend we met them in Munich for a few days. We had quite a whirlwind of a time, taking two day-trips outside the city. One to Salzburg, Austria (wow – so breathtakingly beautiful!) and one to Neuschwanstein Castle (looked right out of a storybook). Now we’re all back home (us in Amsterdam, them in Chicago) and I am just so thankful to have these wonderful memories with them. It’s definitely hard being away from family living over here, but then we get to have experiences like this with them and I realize how rare and amazing it is. This is just a little taste of our weekend away (beer, pretzels and castles, oh my!), many more photos to come (captions below)! 

Also – I’ll be sharing Greece photos for the rest of the week – yippee!
{1} Marienplatz in Munich
{2} Giant beers at the famous Hofbräuhaus in Munich
{3 & 4} Mirabelle Garden in Salzburg
{5} Getreidegasse Road in Salzburg
{6} View from the Fortress in Salzburg
{7} Pretty German windows
{8} Neuschwanstein Castle
{9} Right outside the English Garden in Munich

{Amsterdam Canal Cruise}

One of our absolute favorite things to do with visitors is take them on a boat ride through the canals of Amsterdam. It truly never gets old. We like to take the smaller boats since they feel much cozier and more personal than the giant covered tour boats (although those have their benefits in the colder months!).
With a total stroke of luck, when my sis was here, we ended up on a cute boat all by ourselves! Private boat ride.. Not bad! If you’re ever in Amsterdam looking for a smaller boat, we love the Canal Hopper.
{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Bruges, Belgium: Part I}

Last week my sister Anna came to Amsterdam to visit us! Having family in town is the greatest. Her trip was pretty quick – too quick (she arrived Wednesday evening and left this morning) – but we managed to take a fun excursion to Bruges on Friday. It’s a 4 hour train ride from Amsterdam (which includes switching trains in Antwerp) and it is completely worth the journey. 

Bruges is pretty much a smaller, cleaner, more fairy-tale-like version of Amsterdam. It is speckled with adorable canals, quaint cobblestone streets and stunning architecture. And don’t even get me started on the waffles, chocolates, frites and beer! So many ways to indulge in Bruges! I know it’s not Paris, but if you have the chance to visit someday, I know you wouldn’t regret it! 
{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Barcelona: La Boqueria & Lunch al Fresco}

One of the first things we did upon arriving in Barcelona was walk La Rambla up to La Boqueria. It’s another very famous site in the city, and if you don’t already know, it’s a huge market. You can pretty much find anything you would ever need there, from fruits, veggies and meat to fish, cheese, wine, delicious tapas and the most incredible freshly squeezed juices. This place is a giant maze of deliciousness.
It’s not surprising that as we walked around we worked up a huge appetite. We slurped up some fresh juice and snacked on fresh pineapple we bought for €1, but we were ready for some real food after that! Jeanelle (one of my best expat friends here in Holland) used to live in Barcelona and she suggested we go to Les Quinze Nits for lunch. It’s located in a gorgeous plaza (conveniently close to La Boqueria), which made for a perfectly picturesque al fresco lunch. We thoroughly enjoyed our food and our sangria – it was my mom’s first time drinking sangria and she really loved it! There’s always a line out the door for this restaurant, but the line moves quick and it’s worth the wait! If you’re ever in Barcelona and you’re near La Boqueria – I’d definitely recommend it!
{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Barcelona: Park Güell}

This post doesn’t need much of an introduction seeing as Park Güell in Barcelona is one of the most well known tourist sites in Europe. But I have to say that sometimes when something is super hyped up it doesn’t live up to all the hoop-lah. I can say with great confidence that Park Güell lived up to its reputation. We walked/hiked all the way up to the top from the apartment we were renting in El Borne. If you know anything about Barcelona, you know that’s a pretty good walk. Definitely recommend checking out Parc Güell if you’re ever in Barcelona!
{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Bye, Mama}

Well, that’s it. My mom’s two-week trip has come to an end. I dropped her off at the airport this morning and it was really, really hard. Harder than I was expecting. I was holding back tears as I took the train into work. Then as soon as I walked into the office I couldn’t hold back anymore and a rush of tears and hopeless sighs came flooding out. It was more than a bit embarrassing, but what can I say? I just can’t believe that her long anticipated trip is over and I won’t see her again for four months. I think tonight I’m going to take a bubble bath and read my new book. Hope that will help cheer me up.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. It’s kind of ridiculous (and intimidating) how many photos I have to share with you from the last few weeks. I can’t wait to go through them all and get them up on the blog!